Island Roads work to upgrade Ventnor’s distinctive retaining walls at The Terraces is including special features designed to benefit one of the town’s unique group of settlers.
The Terraces – also known as Judd’s Walk – is home to a colony of wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) and the ongoing masonry repair work by Island Roads includes installing a series of small tubes to ensure the little reptiles can continue to use the structure as a habitat.
The approach has been approved by Appuldurcombe-based environmental consultants Eagle Eye Environmental Solutions who are liaising with Island Roads over various projects.
Though non-native and therefore not protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the wall lizards who arrived on the Island from the Mediterranean years ago are a celebrated addition to the town’s wildlife.
“During work, many people have come up to us and asked us whether our work will affect the wall lizards,” said Island Roads site agent Malcolm Nicholson. “By installing the series of pipes that lead to natural voids between the wall’s stonework, the lizards will continue to be able to live quite happily on and in The Terraces.”
Hazel Burridge of Eagle Eye Environmental Solutions said: “The warm micro climate and south facing slopes are perfect for these colourful lizards and the addition of tubes into the wall will ensure they have refuge from predators. Incorporating simple measures such as this enables essential work to go ahead, whilst still protecting our wildlife, and it is encouraging to see Island Roads taking a proactive approach at their sites.”
Councillor Hobart, Cabinet member for environment and heritage said: “It is great to see that improvements have been made to upgrade and preserve the heritage of Ventnor’s ‘The Terraces’, all the while ensuring that the habitat that the local wall lizards have chosen as their home has been maintained.”
The work at the Terraces began in July and is due to be completed in September. The work is part of a busy programme of work being undertaken by Island Roads under the Highways PFI to improve the condition of local authority structures – mostly retaining walls and bridges – across the Island this year.